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Hardware Fix for Banding ?????

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by RFCGRAPHICS, Jan 12, 2006.



    Apr 30, 2005
    On Monday I dropped off my D200 at Nikon Melville with the chief complaint of banding and hot pixels.

    I just got off the phone with the service department and they stated that my camera is currently in QA (quality assurance ?), and it should be ready to ship out today or tomorrow if everything checks out. When I queried to what was going on with the banding, the person on the phone said let me read whats on the repair slip and then stated blah blah blah..."replaced memory compression". Additionally, according to their website, my camera had a level B2 repair (replaced major parts). Not sure what all of this means, but it sounds like a hardware fix.

    When I get the camera back I will test it and post further observations.


  2. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    This kind of information makes you wonder if Nikon may need to plan a recall. I have watched our threads about banding and there is more talk about it than we'd like to hear. I'm wondering if it is more than a sporadic occurance. Considering that I may buy one of these gems in the future, I hope the Mothership can work the bugs out!
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    My conclusion in the D200 review (to be published in a few day's time) is that Nikon has committed a serrious Q.C. error in allowing flawed cameras to be delivered. Since the occurrences of these are so widespread, a major recall is definitively in place.
  4. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Nikon's B2 level repair is their catch-all, I think the B1 is a cleaning and B3 is total replacement! It would sound that they have a fix in mind and have identified the offending piece, so maybe more info will be forthcoming. They could also be waiting until some of the repairs have hit the real world to insure they have the problem fixed before they launch a major program. In reality, they would have to have a suitable number of spare parts immediately available before initiating a recall. The battery recall may have caught them by surprize and I think that might have been the reason spare batteries have been scarce for the D200.
  5. Going back to the leaked email we are not suppose to talk about (but I will anyway!), there were comments to the fact that both a hardware fix and a firmware update was needed.

    I can understand the need for the hardware fix being related to the QC error you mentioned, but why a firmware update? The latter sounds like it would affect nearly all D200 cameras that already have been shipped, not just those needing a hardware fix.
  6. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Something about the internal signal processing also must be wrong, since you can on very rare occasions trigger "striping" (the term I prefer) even with a camera otherwise functioning absolutely normal. On the other hand, a friend of mine has a D200 that fails consistently on entirely normal subjects. So there is a very wide range of issues here.

    Probably a total recall will be the better option after all to weed out the lemons.
  7. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I have looked carefully at quite a few of my photos viewed "actual pixel size" and have not seen anything like "banding" or "striping" in any of them. Many were in very low light, others in medium, some in full daylight, a variety of focal lengths. Most with zoom lenses, many with my 50mm prime.

    I'm hoping that if there is a QC issue, mine was "lucky". It's also possible that the set of circumstances needed to produce this banding/striping have not yet occurred for me. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed!

    Buying any new "complex" product has the risks that have been discussed in this forum and others. I certainly have had better luck with new cameras than with new cars! I hope that whatever the cause, it will be repaired or fixed by new firmware.

    RFC, I hope they fix yours and have as an added result that we have a better understanding of what is happening, and why. There may also have been some "bad parts"...... in the manufacturing process, which of course, as Bjorn points out is a QC issue.

    Many years ago I had a friend that was service manager for a car dealership. My power steering pump died and I brought the car to him. I went through four (4) "new" pumps in 2 days! If he had not been a good friend I would have thought "something was going on"....but he explained that sometimes there is a manufacturing problem and an entire batch are bad.
  8. polymath

    polymath Guest


    I respect your opinions, but I am not sure how widespread these problems are. Given all the "uber-hype" in the forums, it's really hard to tell. If there are less than 10% of the equipment sold that are defective, I think that would not be acceptable given modern manufacturing standard (quality managemnet), but I would not call this to be widespread given 90% of all camera sold are fine. Of course, these 10% should be replaced given a defective component, but I am not still sure how widespread the problem really is. Furthermore, as you know every component has a manufacturing/engineering tolerance, and when we put the camera to an adverse situation, we might be hitting one of these limits.

    Just a thought.
  9. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    I don't know either about the frequency of the truly flawed cameras, but even a otherwise perfectly functional camera can be give nasty striping under some rare circumstances. It's this kind of uncertainty that Nikon needs to address with a recall. People have to feel assured of their cameras being reliable. I personally know several people doing professional work who have returned their cameras, simply because they felt they couldn't be trusted. One at least one of them did get horrible striping in images shot under very "normal" conditions.

    This is the real issue here.
  10. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Just to add to my last post, here is one of the test images to be published with my D200 review in a couple of days.


    If your tool of the trade can turn in appalling results like this, for an absolutely normal subject, then you cannot rely on it. Again this is the central issue. It is about trust. If Nikon needs to recall each and every D200 to make absolutely sure this flaw is rooted out for good, well, that's what they have to do.

    My final comment is that I understand the resentment against "über-hype" and technobabble found on most of Net photo sites, but in this case it is a fact the public at large have been used as beta testers. Had Nikon followed the previously established pattern they would have distributed review cameras in advance, and this mess would never have had occurred. Instead they seemingly pushed a large number of cameras to chain stores instead of distributing them through tjhe normal photo stores. I smell the signs of profit making management, not a focus on the customers and their getting a reliable, high quality camera. Again, it doesn't matter whether 1% or 10% or 100% of the cameras have a "striping" issue, we should have been unlikely to see any at all.
  11. polymath

    polymath Guest

    Looks like your camera is defective. I would agree that Nikon could have avoided this issue by delaying the release of the camera. In fact, they should have delayed the release until they have ironed out all the issues and built up sufficient inventory to meet the initial demand. Of course, that meant everyone would have to wait till Feb to get their camera, but I think it might have been better since we would have avoided all the hysteria and frustration (for people who are still waiting to receive the camera after pre-ordering it in early November).

    Fortunately, I don't have the banding problem with my camera so far unless I push the camera to its limits (it was not part of the initial release), but I can understand how I would have felt if my camera did not perform to my normal expectation.

    Thanks for your input as always.
  12. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Bjørn :

    Fair comment.

    I'm a Nikon photographer. I enjoy using Nikon equipment. And my D200 is not exhibiting the more significant effects of banding/striping (yet). I have nothing to gain from being one of those people who take every opportunity to complain about Nikon gear.

    That said...

    I think that Nikon is missing an essential point about photographers using their cameras. Nikon shooters want their cameras to be successful, accurate, and truly a joy to shoot with each day. Nikon photographers do not want to be obsessing about their cameras failing; they do not want to feel a lack of trust in their gear.

    Whenever a manufacturer of a technical item appears to be hiding a flaw from their users, it can only alienate the user base. But a manufacturer who steps forward promptly and honestly to address a problem builds loyalty from their users, because the users see the manufacturer as supporting them directly. Sadly, Nikon has been building a nasty reputation in the last few years with the D2H meter issue, the D70 GLOD, and the D2X focus problems. In each instance, they've stood behind a corporate wall of denial for a lengthy period, and then only grudgingly begun to address the problem when it has reached unacceptably high levels.

    Nikon needs to get in front of the wave of discontent on this issue. And they need to jump rather quickly.

    John P.
  13. Ouch! Here's hoping this problem is limited to a select few D200 cameras, otherwise 2006 is going to be an ugly year for Nikon.
  14. mine has never shown any sign of banding even using the recipe posted on this site.
    However I do agre that since this seems to be a serious problem Nikon should work to correct it ASAP and offer it free of charge.

    IMO this just goes to show that although it is nice to have the camera a month and a half after announcement, maybe Nikon's usual system works better with quality control. Just goes to show you that trying to emulate canon's quick releases also emulates poor QC.
  15. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    I completley agree, Canon from what i can see address issues with there cameras and lenses very quickly. I have got a feeling that Nikon will change the faulty parts so that cameras being assembled now are ok, and they will leave the faulty ones for users to send in, then after about a year they`ll admit the problem, exactly what they did for the D2h.

    Nikon should make a press statement about the issue, instead rumours and gossip spread like wildfire and hurt Nikons reputation and the reputation of what is an excellent camera.
  16. Mike Walters

    Mike Walters Guest

    Bjorn, can you tel me at what crop the image you posted was.

    I have only seen banding when I have specifically set out to get it, and then only in extreme conditions (ones whereby the I would thro the photo out anyway) and the banding seems to be bands of nose and is only really visible at 100% crop of a full image on ether NC4.4 or PS.

    For everyday shooting all seems to be ok.

    I believe that D200's fall into 2 catagories.

    1. Only under exteme conditions (strong overexposed lighting combined with noisey underexposed parts opf the image) and only viewable at 100% crop. I think most, if not allD200's exhibit this, some (like me) may think they dont, but it took a while for me to find it.
    2. Banding (striping) that occurs randomly and is much more pronounced and not under extreme lighting and is visible at crops less than 100%.

    Seems that your D200 falls into the latter catagory, whereas the majority fall into the former.

    If I didnt read the message boards I wouldnt know that thiswas even happening and would be more than pleased with my camera.

    That said, this is something Nikon do need to sort out, whether your D200 falls into 1. or 2. above. So I await to see their official response.
  17. Marko Simic

    Marko Simic Guest

    I got my D200 on December 20th and for quite a long time I was convinced that I do not have banding problem. I didn't even try to provoke banding by manipulating files in PS to the limits. Normaly lit scenes were rendred beatifully.

    After reading posts on the forums I got the impression that a lot of people do get banding with normally exposed photos if there is a blown highligt in the frame. So I took a normaly exposed photo of the room, lit with a ceiling lamp in a form of a Chinese lantern which was partly included in the picture. I got vertical banding at first try. I could see it on the LCD at the maximium magnification. It was most pronunced at 400 ASA, a little less at 200 ASA and at 100 ASA it was weak, but still visible.

    I don't know if this is the category 1 or 2 but I do think that Nikon ows us at least an explanation.

    Regards, Marko
  18. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    Yeah i saw that as well, but given that Nikon Capture, Bibble Pro and RawMagick all see the banding makes you wonder what the author of RSE is saying.

    I did ask a direct question on the topic but got no reply. If the issue was in software then i cant see how 3 major RAW processing programs have got it so wrong and one got it right.

    I remain optomistic on the subject, but as far as i can tell this is a hardware issue.
  19. Fair points James - still questions to be answered then.
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